Maynard Holbrook Jackson III — son of the late Atlanta mayor of the same name — has been advocating for Black film makers with his wife through their production company, Auburn Avenue Films, for years now.
Maynard and Wendy Jackson have become rising voices in the Black film industry in Georgia. In fact, their production company is currently producing a film in conjunction with Georgia Public Broadcasting entitled “MAYNARD,” a documentary about the life and times of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard H. Jackson.
The film was picked up by GPB in February. During the initial announcement, Teya Ryan, CEO & president of GPB, stated:
“GPB is pleased to serve as the presenting station for Maynard as part of our Georgia Greats series highlighting extraordinary and influential Georgians. Additionally, [director and producer] Sam Pollard is a well respected filmmaker and we would be honored to showcase his work on GPB.”
Georgia has become one of the top three film production states in the country, following closely behind New York and Los Angeles. With various production and tax incentives available, the state has attracted production companies to shoot lucrative TV and film projects.
Atlanta Black Star has reported that Georgia has some of the lowest taxes for big-budget productions. According to Georgia.org, some of the incentives encourage all post-production activities to be finished in-state:
- Travel and insurance qualify if purchased through a Georgia agency or company.
- Original music scoring eligible for projects produced in Georgia qualify.
- Post-production of Georgia-filmed movies and television projects qualify.
- 20 percent base transferable tax credit.
- 10 percent Georgia Entertainment Promotion uplift can be earned by including an embedded Georgia logo on approved projects and a link to TourGeorgiaFilm.com on the promotional website.
- $500,000 minimum spent to qualify. These incentives attracted films and TV shows like Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, The Walking Dead, Archer, Ant Man, X-Men: Days of Future Past and many others.
These incentives have made the state a film hot spot. The Jacksons reveal in an interview with Rolling Out that the state’s great film incentives should be open to everyone:
“When it comes to fighting for rights, I really don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I can point to my dad’s template. He was always concerned with equal rights for all and it was pretty much his mantra. We must have a concentrated effort for our people and be inclusive of everyone,” stated Jackson III.
The production company is headed by Wendy Jackson, who serves as the company president and principal. Their film “MAYNARD” will feature Black talent behind the camera. It has been their goal to employ as many Black Atlanta-based filmmakers as possible.
This year, Georgia Representatives Mable Thomas, Dee Dawkins-Haigler, Ron Stephens, Winfred J. Dukes and Stacy Abrams created legislation — that has since passed — to address diversity issues in the state’s entertainment industry. Resolution No. 1577 will create the Study Committee of Georgia Minority Participation in the Film and Television Production Industry, providing figures, solutions and opportunities for filmmakers of color.
“Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is doing a really good job of identifying creators. We have a new director in the entertainment office, Chris Hicks, who brings a wealth of knowledge and he is on the pulse of making a lot of different changes for the established and aspiring filmmaker of all colors,” Wendy Jackson said in an interview with Rolling Out.
MAYNARD was directed by Sam Pollard and produced by the Jacksons. The film will be available this year.